Saturday, October 18, 2014

Being Loved is a Powerful Thing

I wrote another entry for the Brandon Sanderson contest. This one is split up into five mini-chapters. They'd be longer if I didn't have only 1000 words to work with!




"I killed your parents." 

A tear leaked down Layenne's rosy cheek as she trembled. "I love you," she whispered harshly, fist clenching at her side.

"I know," I replied softly, looking out the window over my kingdom. "I know." 


"My wish?" I questioned. Words were on my tongue immediately: power, gold, land, food enough to last a lifetime--but there was always a price for offers like this. "What's the catch?"

The fae-woman smiled, holding up a slender finger. "Clever you are, which will take you far. There is no trick to this--only in what you wish." 

I rested my ax on my shoulder as I considered her. She was a young-looking thing, though she was likely hundreds of years old. Curly, lovely, white hair spilled down her sky-cloaked back, shimmering like the white caps of the ocean as she walked. Sly, icy-blue eyes watched me from a perfect oval face, and pale lips parted in a smile.

I had come upon her while I was trekking to my cabin in the woods, as I did every day after work. The fae were an odd lot; they found it a shame to be in the mortal realm. So, in exchange for me telling no one of her visit, she would grant me a wish.

I frowned, not sure what to make of her riddle. "What do you mean?" 

"Yours may have a twist; it might not." Her voice was like the music of a siren.

I tilted my head, and began to think for a wish that would overcome common pitfalls found in stories. 

"What is your name?" I asked.

She gave a laugh like the clinking of icicles falling from a tree. "Rarely do I meet one as you," she mused. "I am called Winter. What is your wish, young lumberman?"

I rubbed the handle of my ax with my thumb, pursing my lips. "I wish . . . to be loved by all who know me."

She paused, then narrowed her eyes as she grinned, revealing cruel, sharp teeth. "It is done," she said as an icy cold wind picked up around us, biting into my skin. "I won't regret your wish." 

Before I could ask her what she meant by that, she vanished.


"I want t' promote you."

My ax bit into the cedar tree, and Arvid waited patiently for me to pull it out. Three days had passed since I met Winter. "Promote me?" I asked finally, turning to him. 

"Yes," he said. "I'd like you t' come t' Market with me and sell th' lumber." 

"Why so suddenly?" 

"You're th' best man I got 'round 'ere," he said, then raised a hand to a Jerold as the older, more experienced lumberjack passed. "No offense."

"None taken!" Jerold said, grinning as he looked to me. "Everyone here thinks the same."

"Alright, then," I agreed. "I'll come with you to Market."


I hopped down from the front of the wagon to help Arvid unload lumber to some rich man's cart. A woman oversaw the work, along with some men. She was dressed in a fine wool coat, and her dark brown hair brushed against her shoulders each time she turned her head to watch someone work with owlish eyes.

"Lumberjack," she called to me as I was returning to the cart. 

I paused. "Yeah?"

"What's your name?" she asked curiously, climbing down from her perch on her wagon. "I haven't seen you at Market before."

"Davin Sen, m'lady," I said, tipping my hat. 

"Don't you recognize me?" she questioned curiously.

"'Fraid not. Should I?" 

She covered a smile with a gloved hand. "I'm Layenne. Princess Layenne."

"Oh," I said dumbly, and then gave a short bow. 

She giggled. "I like you. Come with me, Davin. I have someone I want you to meet." 


"Davin! We're going to be late," Layenne declared as she swept into the room. She clapped in delight at my appearance. "You look positively devastating!"

Admiring myself in the mirror, I smiled. I did look devilish in the three-pieced, black suit. I would likely be the center of attention that night, much as had happened the last few balls. I ran a hair through my blond hair, and turned to her.

She was my perfect compliment, dressed in a lovely white cloth that wrapped around her body like the feathers on a swan. Her smile lit up the room as she came over to me, tugging my clothing into place. I gently took her hands, and she looked up at me.

"I love you," she said, and I knew she was telling the absolute truth.

It warmed me. No one said it out loud except her, though I knew everyone did. Three months had passed since my wish, and my life had never been better. Not a word of anger was ever directed my way any more, and there were very few that wouldn't give me whatever I wished.

"That's why we're getting married," I reminded her with a smile, then gave her a soft kiss. 


"Step down from the throne." 

"Not so soon, young Davin," King Aldric said in his slow way, giving me a smile. "I have a little life in me yet. The kingdom will be yours and my daughter's before long."

That was not soon enough.  I wanted the kingdom now. "Can you call mother in for me?" I asked, sitting down. 

Just a minute later, Queen Delmi stepped into the study, with her maidservant, Alyssa, supporting her at her side. "You have need of me?" she asked, exhaling as she was helped into the third chair. "You may go, Alyssa."

The girl gave a small curtsy, her wistful eyes lingering on me as she left the room. I smiled; her attention was rightly placed.

"I do," I said, standing. "Your time has passed."

"Davin?" the queen asked with some concern as I unsheathed my sword, although her love for me was strong enough to contest the concern.

Just as I would have it.


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